book reviews by Marc D. Goldfinger

Echo Complete Edition by Terry Moore

Published by Abstract Studios: Terry Moore, Artist and Writer.

I just finished reading Echo by Terry Moore for the second time. This is an unbelievable story about a young woman who is testing a nuclear beta suit that covers her body like skin and enables her to fly as fast as a jet plane. Her name is Dr. Annie Trotter and this is part of what HENRI ( Heinrich Nuclear Research Institute) is testing.

The man second in charge is Jack Cooper and they have decided that Dr. Annie Trotter is in the way of what they want to create with this material. They have made a decision to shoot her out of the sky and recover the material when it falls to earth in a secluded area called Moon Lake. What they didn’t count on was a photographer named Julie Martin taking pictures in the Moon Lake area and also a homeless man with a Jesus complex in the same area. When the suit breaks apart after Dr. Trotter is killed by a missile it forms itself into small pellets that fall all around the Moon Lake area, the majority of them hitting Julie and her truck with some other pellets hitting the homeless man.

When Julie touches her truck the pellets swarm together and form a thin breast plate on her that she cannot remove and the homeless man has less pellets but just enough to cover one of his hands.

Julie doesn’t realize it but she has become a nuclear weapon and HENRI will stop at nothing to recover the material even though it will kill her if they try to remove it. The homeless man thinks this material is a gift from God so he can remove the evil from the world with his hand as the Hand of God.

Dr. Annie Trotter, deceased, had a boyfriend named Dillon Murphy who works as a Park Ranger and is very familiar with the Moon Lake area. Dillon is also extremely upset when he finds out that the woman he loves is dead and HENRI has no body to show him. He runs into Julie Martin and is a witness when the army tries to take her into custody and without meaning to, Julie blows the soldiers to hell.

Julie Martin has a sister named Pam whose family was in a terrible accident and her husband and children were killed and she now resides in a psychiatric facility. She is extremely empathic and plays a part in this thrilling story.

The art and text in this giant graphic novel is fantastic and Terry Moore is responsible for it all. The science fiction writer Harlan Ellison says this about Terry Moore and Echo: “Terry Moore does an acre more straight-up memorable storytelling in one black & white issue of Echo than either of the two comic’s giants’ in a years’-worth of their prolix, boring, barren crossover ‘events. This, ECHO, is what we long for, would die for.”

Annie’s distraught boyfriend Dillon decides to help Julie Martin with her predicament, not fully realizing what he is getting into. Also, Dillon has a group of friends that are hardcore Bikers
and he enlists their aid. The head of the biker group, a giant of a man named Dan Backer has been watching HENRI and different events that have been taking place in their area and he suspects them of creating dangerous elements that they let loose in the area where his bike club roams.

Jack Cooper, from HENRI, hires a woman named Ivy Raven to track down Julie and take her into custody but doesn’t reveal all the facts to her. HENRI wants the material back to conduct an experiment that could destroy the world; building a machine that is called a Collider and they want to create a Black Hole.

Ivy Raven is not a woman to fool around with being related to an underground group of women called the Parker Girls which were introduced in Terry Moore’s first comic series called
Strangers In Paradise. I highly recommend reading Strangers In Paradise.

Ironically, a new series of Strangers In Paradise has just started running in the comic stores and it connects directly with the epic Echo. Issue #1 just came out a couple of weeks ago and can still be obtained at your local comic store. This is Volume 2 of Strangers In Paradise. Volume 1 of Strangers In Paradise is a top seller and consisted of a 90 comic run and is available on the internet on Amazon and eBay. Abstract Studios still has some back issues and has a giant trade paperback of Echo which you can obtain from them or your local comic store with some luck.

Once you start reading Echo, you will be hooked, as I was.

“People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and
future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”—Albert Einstein

It by Stephen King

It by Stephen King: “Pocket Books, an Imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc.; 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020; Published in 1986 and Republished in 2016.”

It, a book by Stephen King, demanded to be republished because of its powerful horror, which is personified by a supernatural that becomes Pennywise the Clown. It, the creature, reappears every 28 years and feeds on the children of Derry, New Hampshire.

A group of children band together to defeat this creature. Their power lies in the fact that they let their fear be wiped out and overcome. What does the creature really look like? There can something frightening about a clown, but It is more frightening than that.

Circus clowns make people laugh but underneath the laughter lays fear of the unknown. This book is one of the favorites of the Stephen King’s fan club; it is so popular that it has been made into a show for television. The author, King, was not satisfied with the show, but Pennywise The Clown has a dynamic role.

It has just been made into a movie again this year and Pennywise is much more frightening in the remake. One of the main characters is Bill Denbrough, a young man of 10 who stutters so much that behind his back he is known as “Stuttering Bill”, but no one uses the nickname to his face.

He is the leader of a group of children called “the Losers Club” and they hang out in a forested valley with a stream running through it. This area is called the Barrens and is also the lair of the creature known as Pennywise The Clown.

Pennywise morphs into your worst fear. If you are afraid of spiders, it will appear as a spider. Bill Denbrough has a younger brother known as “Georgie” who was the family favorite. One rainy day Bill builds Georgie a newspaper boat and waxes it so it can run down the streams in the gutters that build up when it rains heavily.

The boat is Georgie’s downfall. In the beginning of the story he is chasing the boat down the ripple of water by the curb and it flows into a sewer. The sewer system connects like a labyrenth under Derry and is the lair of “It.”

Georgie peeks into the sewer in a vain search for the boat and all of a sudden Pennywise the Clown, with a hysterical laugh, holds the boat up and says, “Here’s the boat Georgie; don’t you want it?”

Torn between fear and the desire to have the boat back, Georgie is coerced into reaching into the sewer to take the boat from Pennywise’s hand. Quicker than you can say “rip”, Georgie’s arm is torn from his body. Pennywise disappears into the sewer leaving Georgie dead and bleeding in the street.

The loss of Bill’s brother causes his stutter to get much worse. The Loser’s Club is composed of Richie Tozier, who sees Pennywise as a werewolf, Ben Hanscom, who sees Pennywise as his dad who died in World War II, Eddie Kaspbrak, who is a hypochondriac and his most feared illness is asthma, Stanley Uris, a young Jewish boy who does not believe in the unknown, Mike Hanlon, a young Black boy who grows up to be the Derry Librarian, and Beverly Marsh, a young and the only girl of the group. Her greatest fear is her father, who is not a nice guy.

Beverly’s father always says, “I worry about you and those boys; I worry about you a lot.” But the way he looks at her is not quite right.

It by Stephen King is really divided into two stories. In the first half, the children known as the Loser’s Club confront Pennywise in his lair and make silver slugs to shoot him down. Beverly Marsh is the best shot with a slingshot.

Down in the sewers, three school hoodlums, Henry Bowers, Belch, and Huggins, chase the Losers Club down into the sewers, only to become victims of Pennywise themselves. They get caught in what Pennywise calls his “Deadlights” which hypnotize them and make them unable to fight their fear.

I can’t tell you the story of the children’s confrontation with Pennywise because that could ruin the book but afterwards the children clasp hands and make a vow that if the children of Derry begin to be taken by Pennywise again, they will all return to finish him off for good. If they can, that is.

Mike Hanlon, who becomes the town librarian, is the only one of them who remains in Derry. The others leave town and become very successful.

Bill Denbrough becomes a famous horror writer. Ben Hanscom becomes an architect and Beverly Marsh becomes a decorator and winds up living with a man who is very abusive, just like her father.

Richie Tozier becomes a comedian and man of many voices and Eddie Kaspbrak still lives with his overpowering mother but gets rich as the owner of a giant limo service driving famous actors like Al Pacino around Hollywood.

Then there is Stanley Uris, the realist, who becomes a professor. It’s Mike Hanlon’s job, because he remains in Derry, to call the Loser’s Club together again if Pennywise reappears.

By the time the Losers Club starts their entry to middle age, the children of Derry begin to disappear again. It is 28 years later and Mike has to make the calls. No one is happy to hear his voice because of what it means. But they all pack up and leave for Derry, with the exception of Stanley Uris.

Stanley Uris goes upstairs to the bathroom, carefully lays his clothes on the closed toilet as the water in the bathtub fills steaming. Stanley lies in the water, a razor in his hand, and slits his wrists writing as he dies, on the wall in his own blood one word—IT.

Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King & Owen King

“Sleeping Beauties; Scribner; An Imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc.; 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020”

This book is an insane thriller and it is also a father and son re-union.  Owen King has written a few books by himself but this time he teamed up with his dad, Stephen King, to write a book about a disease that affects women when they go to sleep.

They sleep and a soft growth like the cocoon of a moth grows out of their mouths and covers their heads and the rest of their bodies.  But if you peel the cocoon off of their faces to get to them, the women go wild and become berserk killers.

In Dooling County, a relatively small women’s prison in the Appalachian Mountains, people are frightened because what you don’t know is more threatening than what you think you know.

The book begins when a meth lab blows up and a woman they refer to as the ‘Avon Lady’ kills the chemist by putting his head through the trailer wall.  Linny Mars, the desk dispatcher, takes the 911 call from Tiffany Jones, who is freaking out.

At first Linny Mars doesn’t believe Tiffany Jones but then she hears a boom in the background.  Linny asks Tiffany how they will be able to identify the ‘Avon Lady’ and Tiffany tells her that she’ll be the woman covered with the chemist’s , Truman Mayweather’s, blood.

Linny calls Lila Norcross, the deputy on duty, who doubts everything until she sees the smoke rising up near Adam’s lumberyard.  Then Lila sets out for the scene of the crime.

This book is full of twists and turns and women who are desperately trying to stay awake.  If you can imagine a women’s prison, staffed 50 per cent by women, where the male staff are always trying to get a little piece of sex from dissatisfied women who don’t want any part of it.

Dooling Correctional is a prison that has never won any awards for excellence.  There is too much going on there for that to happen.  Stephen King and Owen King work like madmen creating an insane world with a bizarre disease called the Aurora Sickness.

How is the disease spread? Does a moth carry it?  Does the Aurora Sickness affect animals?  There is a woman named Evie who can talk to animals.  She is locked up in the Dooling Correctional Center.  She sleeps but does not seem to be affected by the Aurora Sickness.  The cocoon never covers her.

Evie was arrested under the name of Eve Black after she blew up the meth lab where she killed Truman Mayweather and another gentleman.  I’ll use the word loosely here.

Stephen King and Owen King have been working together since Owen was a child.  Their first collaboration was not for public consumption.  Growing up in a house full of writers, Stephen, Tabitha, Joe and Owen were all full of word soul.

On the kitchen table there was an ongoing story where everyone took part.  Each person tried to leave the story in a place where it would take some verbal maneuvering to get the hero/heroine out of a seemingly impossible jam.

This ongoing game kept everyone in the house on their toes and helped them learn to build thrilling narratives.  The story drives the writer and the writer steers the story.  Nothing is impossible.  The webbing in Sleeping Beauties keeps all the characters in Sleeping Beauties dealing with all sorts of twists and turns.

There is a talking fox, a Mother Tree, and what does Eve Black have to do with the Aurora Sickness that covers women with something like webbing or while they appear to be asleep? Do the women who are sleeping in the cocoon communicate with each other in another psychic world?

While the men in the story think of the webbing and sleeping women as sick in the grips of a strange disease, it could it be just the opposite.  Why is it that when a person tries to strip the webbing from a woman’s face to wake her up, the woman reacts violently and slays the intruder as if they are invading a world where they are resting peacefully?

Owen King and Stephen King have come up with a story that is a dark fairy tale and very different than the fairy tale of the Sleeping Beauty where a kiss can bring the princess back to life.  It is quite possible that the women are enjoying being where they are in dreamland.

This book, Sleeping Beauties, is an evil tale and it is another King Conspiracy.  You can find it at the Harvard Book Store, where I bought mine, or on the Internet.  This appears to be Owen King’s breakthrough novel and I am sure that Joe Hill, Owen’s brother, is excited that another member of his family has reached out to twist the mind of the American and European public.

Don’t miss this twisted tale by Owen and Stephen King.

Cold City: The Early Years by F. Paul Wilson

Cold City: The Early Years by F. Paul Wilson. A Tor Book, published by Tom Doherty Associates, LLC, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, N Y 10010

If you’ve never read a Repairman Jack novel, Cold City: The Early Years is the perfect place to start. Jack Moore, which isn’t his real name, dropped out of Rutgers and moved to New York City and has, for a number of reasons, decided to work off the grid.

That means no Social Security number, no record of who he is, just a guy who doesn’t want to take part as a registered member of our civilization. In the beginning Jack is working off the books as a landscaper for a company called Two Paisanos Landscaping, even though there is only one Paisano.

The crew is five men, 4 Dominicans and Jack, the white boy. During the growing season they work 7 days a week and get paid $4 an hour off the books. It’s 1990 so that type of pay without any deductions doesn’t get you rich but you’re not poor either.

One of the Dominicans is named Rico and he was the lead man until Jack started working. Because Jack came from New Jersey and worked as a landscaper for 4 years, he had more experience than any of the other guys.

Why has Jack decided to drop out? The first three books of his life, as a teenager and until he was 24, create his story. When he was nineteen years old, some young prankster threw a cinder block off a bridge that ran over a throughway and it went smashing into the windshield of his parents car and his mother was killed.

In the very first book written about Repairman Jack called The Tomb, Jack hides on the overpass two or three nights a week until he catches the young punk who killed his mother. Revenge is not always a dish served cold.

One day Rico was in a particularly bad mood and starting ragging on Jack with various despicable slurs and Jack was struggling to keep his temper. Then Rico did the unforgivable. He started saying negative things about Jack’s mother. Jack did everything he could to hold himself together and, by some miracle, he did.

Then Rico, out of nowhere, sucker punched Jack and Jack saw black and used all of his martial arts skills on Rico. Jack broke Rico’s nose, kicked Rico’s knee so that it went backwards and got him on the ground and starting pounding on his face. Then Jack picked up a rock and was getting ready to smash it into Rico’s face and Giovanni, the owner of Two Paisano’s, wrapped his arms around Jack and lifted him into the air.

Giovanni held Jack up in the air and all of a sudden Jack cooled off. He told Jack to go home because the other three Dominicans were really angry and Giovanni said that when they went back to work one of them would have used the sharp gardener’s tools to kill Jack.

That was the end of Jack’s work as a landscaper in New York City. It wasn’t his last run in with the Dominican’s that he worked with but you’ll have to read the 1st three books of The Early Years: Cold City, Dark City, and Fear City to find out what happens next and why it happens.

Giovanni recommends that Jack get a gun just to stay safe and that is when Jack finds out that Abe, his close friend in New York who owns a sporting goods store, is also a weapon supplier. In the back room of the sporting goods shop is a giant room with a big sign on the wall that says “The Weapon Shop of Isher.” Have you ever heard of the science fiction writer named A. E. Van Vogt?

The next job Jack procures is through his weapon trainer, a man named Dane Bertel, who smuggles truckloads of cigarettes from North Carolina to New York City and is always in the market for a trustworthy driver. At $3,000 a trip, Jack gets a substantial raise.

On one of these runs, a major incident takes place that changes the course of Jack’s life. I don’t want to ruin the series so I can’t tell anymore about what happens.

I can say that if you have heard of the Jack Reacher series written by Lee Child and like it, you will love the series about Repairman Jack written by F. Paul Wilson which is about twenty books long. People clamor for Dr. Wilson to write more Jack stories but, at this time, he has taken a break and is writing other things. If they ever made Repairman Jack movies, and did them well, they would be giant moneymakers.

I highly recommend this series of books and I would say you should start with Cold City. There are others who would disagree with me but, that’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it. The great thing about this series is, at this time, you can find these books in used book stores and on the internet for reasonable prices unless they happen to be signed by F. Paul Wilson, the writer.

Strange Weather by Joe Hill

William Morrow, an Imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, 195 Broadway, New York, New York 10007;

Joe Hill knocks a home run out of the park with all bases loaded with Strange Weather, 4 novellas that will twist your mind and make your heart skip two beats a minute.

Strange Weather it is, with a major eclipse crossing the United States, an insane clown president with glowing eyes and a mouth that twitters faster than his brain, if he’s got one.

When there is a book of novellas, there is always one that strikes me as my favorite. My rainbow twist of the four is Loaded, about a mall security guard named Randall Kellaway back from the war in the Mid-East, not having served with honors for sure. He is crazy about guns but is far from being a true gunslinger (he lacks honor).

Kellaway isn’t allowed to have guns but he has plenty. And so does the disgruntled employee from the jewelry store that comes to take her revenge with a fancy revolver. She discovered her boss flashing her sex over the Internet and pulled the trigger.

Kellaway comes in with his illegal piece, sees a Muslim woman with something clutched to her chest and everything goes wrong. A witness sees everything and then it all goes black.

There’s a story behind everything that goes wrong in Loaded but that’s Joe Hill’s job. And he does it with finesse. His dad, Stephen King, has created a true gunslinger in Joe and he’ll never forget the face of his father; never be sent west. (Reference to The Dark Tower by Stephen King).

In another story called Aloft there’s a gent named Aubrey Griffin, frightened of heights, who agrees to a sky jump in honor of a dead friend. However, it all goes wrong because there’s a cloud that is alive and it won’t let him pass.

I’ll say no more than Joe Hill has his guns out and they are blazing throughout the length of this novella. Clouds are only supposed to bring Rain, which is the name of the final novella.

The rain that fell was sharp and solid and as deadly as Joe Hill’s words. Truthfully, Joe’s words are as deadly as the bullets that fly from a gunslinger’s heavy gun. Strange Weather is a collection of four stories that will truly keep you awake and realizing that Stephen King’s apple has not fallen far from the tree. In one of the stories a strange man carries a Polaroid camera that takes pictures and makes people forget. Joe Hill has here captured the imagination of his avid readers. He really does quite an excellent job on these novellas, as well as on his other short stories and novels.

Joe Hill’s first book was a book of short stories called 20th Century Ghosts; then he moved quickly to A Heart-Shaped Box, where a man who has played hard (like Ozzie Osbourn) buys a suit that travels with a deadly ghost that plays with a sharp silver blade. A Heart-Shaped Box would make a wonderful movie but it just hasn’t been done yet. Hopefully a good director will pick it up.

His other three novels are Horns, Nos4a2 and The Fireman. He blows the hole out of the bulls-eye on every single book. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention his graphic novel by the name of Locke & Key, a book about keys that open doors to other realities and the family that is both blessed and cursed by them.

One other novella that Joe Hill wrote while he was traveling to a writer’s convention in 2006 is named Gunpowder, and is about teenagers with special talents who live on another planet. It is a powerful story in a hardcover all by itself in 3 forms. All three are hardcovers, one has no dust jacket, one does have a dust jacket, and the third is the deluxe edition with a dust jacket and slipcase. The first is a regular trade, the second is signed and numbered by Joe Hill, and the third is signed and numbered by Joe Hill and the artist Gabriel Rodriguez. They are all wonderful and rare.

There is a rumor that Joe is going to lengthen Gunpowder to a full-length novel and this would be great. But right now I highly recommend you buy a copy of Strange Weather. It will be released on October 24th but you can pre-order a signed copy on the Internet from Waterstreet books. It’s so good I just read Loaded for the second time.

I haven’t yet read anything by Stephen King’s other son, Owen. But I’m hoping that he’ll be just as exciting as the rest of the writing family. His new book, Sleeping Beauties, which Owen co-wrote with his father, will be released at the end of September.

These are the days of Strange Weather, which will follow the eclipse. Joe Hill is one of the great writers of these days.

The Delicate Dependency by Michael Talbot

First Valancourt Book Edition, 2014, Richmond, VA; Previously published in 1982 by Avon Books, a paperback edition in 1982. Hard Cover Edition first published by Centipede Press in 2017; 300 copies exclusive.

The Delicate Dependency: A Novel of The Vampire Life was written in 1982 by Michael Talbot, an interesting man who lived most of his life in New York City, writing at times for The Village Voice, a Greenwich Village newspaper. The Delicate Dependency was his first novel and is regarded as one of the best vampire novels ever written.

The Avon paperback can be found in small bookstores and on the Internet and is quite high-priced. Of course, with the release of the new paperback the price should come down.

Michael Talbot is extremely intelligent and his book The Holographic Universe, which was written in 1991, is very well known. It is very dense and if you intend to read this book, settle down with a dictionary. If you are interested in physics, this book is right up your street.

In The Delicate Dependency, the vampire, as they call themselves in plural, are the keepers of all human knowledge and are scattered throughout the world, some of them living in monasteries. One of the vampire was actually a Pope in this book.

Dr. John Gladstone is the main human character. His two children, Ursula and Camille, play major roles. Camille, a young girl, is a savant. If she hears a tune played on an instrument, she can duplicate it to the very note on a piano.

For reasons that will be disclosed, the vampire Niccolo steps out in front of Dr. John Gladstone’s carriage, breaking Niccolo’s legs. Dr. Gladstone takes responsibility for Niccolo and takes him to the hospital where several peculiar events ensue.

Lady Dunaway, a fellow traveler with Dr. Gladstone, says, “Never trust the vampire, for everything they say and do is for some other purpose. They will play a cruel and enigmatic ‘game of the mind’ with you and it will be up to you to solve the puzzle, unravel the Gordian knot.”

Niccolo and Lodovico, two very old vampire, combine forces to kidnap Camille, the young musical savant. Lady Dunaway wants to travel with Dr. Gladstone, claiming that her son, a mathematical savant, has been kidnapped by the vampire.

Dr. Gladstone has a strange intuition about Lady Dunaway, who seems at times not quite human, although her body temperature is normal. The vampire have cool body temperatures and their heartbeats (in most stories about vampires they don’t have heartbeats) are about 34 beats per minute.

During the search for the two savant children, Dr. Gladstone and Lady Dunaway wind up in France and are taken prisoner by a vampire named Des Essientes. They are kept in separate, comfortable rooms, but they are told that they will be kept there for the rest of their lives because they have discovered too much about the vampire.

On alternate nights, they are sometimes given the run of the house, always under the watchful eye of a falcon that feeds on rotting meat. Therefore, if they try to escape, the falcon’s claws will infect them with lethal bacteria.

The falcon is the pet of a young vampire, Hatim, who was turned when he was a teenager. Hatim has many of the mannerisms of the falcon and his demeanor frightens Dr. Gladstone. When Dr. Gladstone asks Hatim how old he his, Hatim says that he doesn’t really know, but he assumes he was born over five hundred years ago.

If you have read the book Dracula by Bram Stoker, you will notice a similarity in the frantic chase scene when Dr. Gladstone and Lady Dunaway flee the vampire when they seem to be closing in on all sides.

Dr. Gladstone’s older daughter, Ursula, assists in their escape, but I will stop here and let you be chilled by it as you read the book.

Talbot has the vampire keep records of humanity for many centuries. Many vampire were living in monasteries during the dark ages. Lodovico, one of the oldest vampires, has birds and animals long thought extinct in his giant mansion and gardens, where he isolates himself from the rest of the world.

The Delicate Dependency is a book that is as interesting as the life of its author, who was way ahead of his time. Michael Talbot was gay, born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 1953. He died of HIV related leukemia at the young age of 38.

Michael Talbot is regarded as one of the great minds of his generation and has been widely published. Even though not many people have heard of this book about the vampire, it is regarded as the best of its genre. The fact that it has been just reprinted, will make it available to vampire lovers worldwide. The paperback is within the price range of the average reader and the rare hardcover published by Centipede Press sells for close to one hundred dollars.


Gwendy’s Button Box by Stephen King & Richard Chizmar

Gwendy’s Button Box by Stephen King & Richard Chizmar.  Published by Cemetery Dance Publications, 132B Industry Lane, Unit #7, Forest Hill, MD 21050,

When Stephen King partners up with another writer who shares the same darkness dancing on the buttons (keys) of his computer, magic happens. That is exactly what takes place when Richard Chizmar and King told a tale out of school and decided to name it Gwendy’s Button Box.

It is a story about a young girl named Gwendy Peterson who came to possess a beautiful wooden box that came with magic buttons and a great responsibility. There are many countries in our world where people in charge have buttons at their disposal, which would make horrible things happen, if they were to be pressed.

Those buttons are a great responsibility and the people of our world can only pray that the rulers of the countries that possess these buttons are of stable mind. Here in the United States, one of the most powerful countries in the world, the situation is debatable.

Nevertheless, we’re here to talk about a thrilling book called Gwendy’s Button Box, about a young girl who possesses that box and the changes it brings to her life.

The box doesn’t hold buttons; it has buttons attached to it, like keys on a computer, and each button is a different color. If a button is pressed it has an effect on a specific part of the world. Then there is the red button, which will give you whatever you ask for, when it is pressed.

There is also the black button, which should never be pressed; it is similar to the button that launches nuclear missiles all over the world. Similar but much more hazardous; it is a great responsibility to be in charge of that button, let alone the whole box.

There are also two levers, one on each side of the box. One dispenses the best chocolate Gwendy ever tasted, shaped like animals. The other lever doesn’t always work, but gives a pleasant surprise when it does.

When Gwendy presses the button for the chocolate animal, it comes out perfectly shaped; let’s say a small turtle this time. She pops it into her mouth and enjoys it immensely; afterwards, she has no desire for another chocolate that day.

As a matter of fact, after eating that chocolate, her desire for all unhealthy foods goes away. Gradually Gwendy finds herself losing weight. She had been overweight and even started running the Suicide Stairs to lose weight because Frankie Stone, not a nice guy in school, called her the Goodyear Blimp.

The exercise and the diet are effective, and now, when she looks down, Gwendy can see her feet. That wasn’t always the case.

Gwendy met Richard Farris, the man who gave her the button box, at the top of the Suicide Stairs. He had been sitting on the bench at the top of the stairs for about a week and seemed to have his eye on her.

He introduced himself, friendly-like, and gave her the box, explaining all of its ramifications. Mr. Farris appeared to be a nice guy and, despite warnings about talking to strangers, he allayed Gwendy’s fears. Mr. Farris wore a black bowler hat that suited him well. He gave her possession of the box with various warnings and cautions. Then he left and his hat blew off, resting on the grass next to the stairs.

But enough about Mr. Farris and the box. Let’s talk about the Suicide Stairs, so-called because it happened that a few people leapt to their death from the top of the stairway. For Gwendy, however, the Suicide Stairs changed her life for the better.

This book, written by both Stephen King and Richard Chizmar, is a thriller and had me on the edge of my seat. Richard Chizmar is not as well known as Mr. King but he has a twist in his mind that he can share on paper. Both writers are masters of their craft.

Cemetery Dance Publications has been putting out excellent books for a while now, many of them beautiful limited editions, signed and numbered by authors who can send chills up and down your spine. You’ll find Cemetery Dance Publications on the Internet where you can see the books they produce, giving great authors the opportunity to offer beautiful limited editions to the public.

Gwendy’s Button Box is one of the special books put out by Cemetery Dance Publications. Gwendy is one of those special people given a chance to deal with a great responsibility. I highly recommend this book. You can find it in bookstores and on the Cemetery Dance website.

Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel

Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel. The Themis Files: Waking Gods, April, 2017: Book Two; Sleeping Giants, Book One; by Sylvain Neuvel; Published by Penguin Random House LLC, New York, N.Y. in 2016.

In doing this book review of Waking Gods, which is Book Two of The Themis Files, I find myself in a quandary. When I write a review of a wonderful book, this time a series of 3 books, I don’t like to insert spoilers.

We have a problem. What if you, dear reader, have not yet read Sleeping Giants, which is the 1st book of the series, and you are intrigued by what is happening? In this series, The Themis Files, it is definitely a requirement to read Sleeping Giants before reading Waking Gods.

Let me say this—Waking Gods is a wonderful book and it could stand by itself, however, if you don’t read Sleeping Giants first, there will be much of the story that you will be missing. You might think you understand what is happening in Book Two, however, there may be pieces that you don’t quite understand because of the intricate nature of the invasion of earth by a yet undefined species.

Oh, was that a spoiler? I think not. That sentence gives no more information than little blurbs about Sleeping Giants that are easily found on the Internet. Especially if you go to Sylvain Neuvel’s website and find out interesting facts about the author.

Sylvain quit high school at the age of fifteen but at some point in his life, due to an expanding curiosity, he went back to school and received his PHD. in Linguistics. He also became a father who told a story about giant robots to his son and then, when his son began asking questions in depth about the robots, Sylvain had to come up with a back story.

Which he did. And that is lucky for you because, if it weren’t for the back-story, you would not have a fantastic trilogy of books to read, already optioned by Sony for a movie. It will probably be more than one movie. After all, look at what happened to Hunger Games and this story is wonderfully equal to that tale.

I really hate to inform you what happens when the Waking Gods appear. When the giant machines appear in densely populated areas of the world, they come with attitude. Only the Sleeping Giant can stand against them but there is quite a cost to humanity and the aliens.

Do you trust your government? Can you trust god-like beings with amazing powers that can raze cities to bare earth? The giants and Themis go toe to toe and the cost can be quite high.

You will be amazed by the events that take place in this series. I cannot wait to read the 3rd book and book 2 is only coming out in April of 2017. From one step to the next, the mystery of where these aliens come from and our relationship to them becomes intertwined. Is it possible that they have changed the face of out civilization starting eons ago?

The tension in book one was excruciating, but Waking Gods made Sleeping Giants seem like a walk in the park. I’m thrilled with the twists and turns that take place as the aliens drop into our cities all over the world.

In book one, the story was a search and find expedition and as the giant robot comes together, the human operators are altered in such a way that we can doubt the pure genes of the humans on earth. I really don’t want to discuss the attacks that take place in the cities, but they reveal facts that change the history of humankind.

Life and death are not open to conjecture at this point. This is one of the best scientific series of the history of the world that I have ever read. I have read that this story can be compared to The Martian by Andy Weir or World War Z, because of the style it was written.

However, World War Z was a sleeper compared to The Themis Files. What I mean to say is, World War Z was a series of communications between characters in a rather boring manner, where as Waking Gods is a thrilling series of communications amongst characters.

To compare those two books because of the style in which they were written is a gross error. Sleeping Giants and Waking Gods pulled me along in the narrative and I found it difficult to put the books down. Sylvain Neuvel, the writer, is at home in his medium and is one of the best writers I’ve ever experienced. I’m really excited to find out how the final book of the Themis Trilogy wraps up.

Until then the Waking Gods strike in mid April. You’ll be sure to find a copy at the Harvard Bookstore. They’ll order one for you happily if they sell out. Enjoy!

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

Norse Mythology by Neil GaimanNorse Mythology written by Neil Gaiman; published by W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 500 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10110; (212) 354-5500

Neil Gaiman respects the Old Gods and that is why he is the proper man to write their tales. Gaiman did not just read tales that modern men have written to decipher the Old God’s realities, but he went back and studied the original translation of Snorri Sturluson’s Prose Edda, the verses of the Poetic Edda, which was written nine hundred years ago to reveal the stories of the Old Gods.

Think back to the early history of humankind, where men, women and children huddled around the fires at the entrance to their caves, or the giant fireplaces in the stone houses of the Vikings, and then you will be able to come to an understanding of the Old Gods.

Odin, Thor, Loki, Tyr the one handed (Odin’s Son) and Frigg, the queen of the Gods, where we get the names of some of the days of the week, for instance, Odin was called Wednesday; Frigg was called Friday, just to name two of them.

Think of Jesus on the cross and then hear the tale of Odin, the greatest of the Gods, who, for the seeking of knowledge and runes, sacrificed himself on the World Tree, Yggdrasil, where he hung for nine days and nine nights; during that time his side was pierced by the point of a spear and yet he lived and hung on the Tree without eating or drinking, alone in great pain and suddenly, just before death took him he peered down at the ground and the runes of knowledge were revealed to him.

Odin came to understand then, and his ropes disintegrated as the great God fell from the tree knowing the power of magic and having the ability to control the world. Now then, think of Jesus on the cross, with his side pierced by the spear. Who is the older of the Gods?

Neil Gaiman spins the webs of the God’s lives in Norse Mythology, tale after tale. Did he drink mead, the poetic drink of the Gods, while he was writing these tales? It may well be so.

One of the tales is called The Treasures of The Gods. It is the best story about Loki, the Trickster God, I have ever read. It starts with a tragic event and ends with everyone happy, all that is, except for Loki. It also reveals how many of the treasures of the Gods are created, even the great Hammer of Thor.

One of Loki’s greatest tricks is to change his shape and appear as anything or anyone he wants. He used this trick to thwart The Master Builder from finishing Asgard’s great wall on time.

Loki was married but he carried his ways into marital bliss. It was bliss to him but to his wife Sigyn had her doubts. Which were well founded, for Loki would disappear for a time and then, when he returned, he was happy but Sigyn was not. After Loki’s third disappearance, Odin dreamed into Loki’s travels and found that he was carrying on with a Giantess named Angrboda.

Loki had three children with Angrboda. One child named herself Hel; another of the children was named Jormungundu and the third child was called Fenrir. These were Loki’s children with the Giantess; he had two children with his wedded wife; one named Narfi and he was not well-behaved, and another named Vali and he was obedient and restrained. But it is Loki’s children with the Giantess that the story is about. You will understand when you read the story of The Children of Loki. That doesn’t mean you will know what you understand.

The stories in Norse Mythology just keep getting better. Another great story is called The Apples of Immortality. After all, the Gods don’t stay young just because they are Gods. What would happen if someone stole the apples of immortality? Only Loki, the God of Mischief, could have a hand in something like this.

I believe that Neil Gaiman was one of the gifts of the Gods, otherwise he wouldn’t be able to spin such tales from the past. I wonder, in the end, if Neil Gaiman will pay the price for his tales. If the Gods read these stories, they may get want to get even with him.

As I read Norse Mythology, I have come to wonder if Neil Gaiman is really Loki in human form. Gaiman’s stories have tricks in them that only Loki could conceive. Sometimes I think that only Loki or Joe Hill could achieve such a feat, but Neil Gaiman pulls it off wonderfully.

The book will be released on February 7th and I am sure that the Harvard Bookstore in Harvard Square will have copies for sale. Please don’t miss this book, even if you’ve never read anything by Neil Gaiman. It’s a great place to start.

Norse Mythology is one of the best books by Neil Gaiman that I have ever read and I’ve read almost all of them—The Sandman, American Gods, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, & Black Dog, which is a novella that was born from American Gods. There are other books, books written for Young Adults such as Coraline and The Graveyard Book, just to name two.